HOBOKEN, N.J. (PIX 11) — Elected officials and community members held a prayer vigil in Hoboken Tuesday honoring the lives lost in the Middle East as the death toll rose to nearly 2,000. 

A large crowd gathered at Pier A Park, singing, praying and mourning for those who had been killed and kidnapped, and to stand by Israel in its time of need. Joel Freiser is a New Jersey resident who feels for his family in Israel. 

“The impact has manifested in my not being able to sleep, and watching the news on TV and seeing the unspeakable atrocities that are being committed,” said Freiser.

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said the event was not about taking sides, but about standing up against violence while praying for peace.

“We fight for peace and we pray for peace, a lasting peace every day,” said Bhalla. “Not just for the Jews but for all humanity.”

At least 1,900 people have been killed on both sides of the conflict since missiles rained down on Israel Saturday morning.

Shanna Fuld is a Queens native and journalist living in Tel Aviv. She said the air strikes from Hamas terrorists exploding around her are terrifying. 

“It feels very apocalyptic here,” said Fuld. “The streets are empty, people are stocking up on groceries, and all day today I’ve been hearing rockets outside overhead.”

Fuld says she’s been taking cover in a stairwell hoping to live for another day.

“I have a lot of fears,” Fuld said. “It’s rocket fears but it’s also the fear that there are terrorists on the loose that have not been detected by our army that are out in the streets of Israel and a lot of my friends are worried about that.”